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Texas A & M hammer UNC in Stunner

CHARLOTTE – For much of this year, the Texas A & M basketball season played like a long joke. The Aggies started 11-1, with the only loss to Arizona. They reached their peak in December, reaching No. 5 in the country in the Associated Press poll.

From there, Texas A & M became a paragon of frustration and fascination, losing seven out of nine from the end of December to the end of January and failing a final of four contenders for a mediocre and mediocre participant of the tournament. the NCAA. A perfect storm of injuries, suspensions and an improved SEC cast a blanket of skepticism over Texas A & M if they could ever rekindle the mojo they had shown earlier in the season.

A perfect storm of a different kind came with a flourish on Sunday afternoon in Charlotte. Texas A & M pushed around UNC in its own backyard, taking lunch money from the Tar Heels before sending them home, 86-65, as the No. 2 seed to be defeated in the NCAA tournament. Texas A & M will play No. 3 Michigan in Sweet 16.

With 5:48 left in the second half, A & M forward Robert Williams put an exclamation point over the victory with a dunk of Windmill on a getaway. The already dazed partisan crowd remained silent, with a small band of A & M fans celebrating maniacally.

A crowd at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte preparing to see the story later in the afternoon with the No. 16 UMBC playing in the first game of the second round in the history of the NCAA tournaments that seed ended up seeing an epically bad performance of UNC instead.

After consecutive seasons of playing in the national title game, North Carolina went home with a groan in 2018. No. 7 Texas A & M led most of the game and was never legitimately threatened in the second half.

North Carolina continued shooting triples, ending the game with an abysmal 6-of-31. UNC went 1 for 13 in the first half and was 42-28. The Tar Heels never found any appearance of pace or race to give a legitimate push to turn it into a game, as A & M smashed the UNC press and released 51.7 percent for the game. UNC turned the ball around six times, as the length and strength of A & M forced him to shoot badly.

In what amounted to a road game, A & M proved not inclined by a crowd that was 80 percent pro-Carolina. Led by Tyler Davis (18 points) and a potential first-round pick at Williams (13 rebounds), A & M dominated the paint, blocked eight shots and played with Carolina.

Juvenile forward Luke Maye seemed overcome and outperformed in the paint. The brilliant careers of UNC seniors Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson, who led the Tar Heels to the national title last year and came in second in 2016, faded to black faster than anyone would have expected.

a minute remaining, cries of "THANKS THEO!" and "THANK YOU JOEL!" They came from the North Carolina contingent.

Texas A & M demonstrated what can happen to its talented list when continuity joins coherence. Spitfire guard T.J. Starks played wild at times, but never looked in the fear of the moment.

The physical imbalance was perhaps best summed up by one statistic: Texas A & M finished the game with eight blocks, while UNC had zero. Twice during the second half, Davis blocked Maye in the paint. After one o'clock, he let out a primal scream that reverberated through the stunned silence of the area. Davis was the best A & M player, since the young man from Plano, Texas, had 18 points on nine shots, three blocks and nine rebounds.

UNC had entered the NCAA with an impulse and a seemingly manageable trip to the last four. That started with what essentially amounted to two games at home here before going west for the Sweet 16. Skeptically surrounding No. 1 Xavier, the West's top favorite, UNC had been a fashion choice for the Final Four and beyond.

But after a horrible, flat and hapless performance here against Texas A & M, UNC will return to its backyard during the off-season.

For Texas A & M, the Aggies showed the reasons why they had climbed so high in November and December. Their physical dominance, the Starks engine and a line of tall trees on the front line will turn them into a threatening confrontation for anyone.

The flashes of Texas A & M's potential became a cruel reality for North Carolina. And all those primary cries after blockades and dunks will reverberate in the state for the next few days.

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